By Rich Bailin, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@RichBailin)
AEW Dark: Elevation (Episode 42)
Taped December 15, 2021 in Garland, Texas at Curtis Culwell Center
Streamed December 20, 2021 on the AEW YouTube Page
Tony Schiavone welcomed us to this week’s AEW Dark: Elevation and introduced Mark Henry. Schiavone said Eddie Kingston would be joining them soon, but said they had a special guest commentator for the first match. Schiavone sent it to ring announcer Justin Roberts…
1. Nyla Rose, The Bunny and Emi Sakura (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Jessica James, Gigi Rey and Lady Bird Monroe. Ruby Soho was the special guest commentator for this match. Rose and Rey started the match. Rose immediately kicked Rey into the corner and then went after James and Monroe in the opposite corner. With the referee distracted Sakura and The Bunny worked over Rey. Rose then tagged in Sakura who threw Rey by her hair and then did her ‘Rock You” chops and corner splash.
Sakura lifted Rey onto her shoulder and tagged in The Bunny but Rey slipped out and tagged in James. James hit The Bunny with a couple of kicks but as she went for a dropkick The Bunny just sidestepped her. The Bunny hit James with some rising knees to the face which caused James to back up into her corner and allow Monroe to make the blind tag. As Monroe came into the ring, The Bunny threw James into her. The Bunny then put Monroe’s head underneath the middle turnbuckle and then dropkicked her.
The Bunny tagged in Sakura who climbed to the middle rope and dropped an elbow onto Monroe and went for the cover. Both James and Rey broke up the pin and then all 6 women were in the ring. Once Bunny and Rose threw James and Rey out of the ring, Sakura made the legal tag to Rose who hit a clothesline on Monroe then hit the Beast Bomb for the pinfall.
Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura and The Bunny defeated Jessica James, Gigi Rey and Lady Bird Monroe by pinfall in 3:00.
After the match Rose and Ruby Soho stared each other down…
Bailin’s Breakdown: Standard showcase match with the focus on Nyla Rose as she goes into her semifinals of the TBS tournament this Wednesday on Dynamite against Ruby Soho.
An ad aired for Dynamite’s move to TBS beginning January 5…
2. Red Velvet vs Madi Wrenkowski. Both women got televised entrances. Eddie Kingston replaced Ruby Soho on commentary. Velvet started with a pair of armdrags before coming off the ropes and hitting Wrenkowski with a single leg lariat. Velvet then went for an Irish whip but Wrenkowski reversed it and charged towards Velvet. Velvet got her foot up but Wrenkowski caught it and pulled Velvet down face down on the mat. Wrenkowski then caught Velvet with an elbow drop and slammed her head into the mat a couple of times.
Wrenkowski went for a pinfall, but Velvet kicked out at one and began her comeback. Velvet dropped Wrenkowski with a drop toe hold onto the ropes then hit Wrenkowski in the back with double knees. Velvet went for a cover and only got a two count but then caught Wrenkowski with the Final Slice for the pinfall.
Red Velvet defeated Made Wrenkowski by pinfall in 2:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: This was a disappointing match. It’s not so much that anything was botched or the work was bad, but we have seen more from Wrenkowski in the past and she was even pictured in the open for Elevation (when they were airing one). Velvet just isn’t at the point where she should be winning matches in less than two minutes, especially not against a talent who has been featured previously.
An ad aired for the Battle of the Belts special on January 8…
3. “Bear Country” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder vs. “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico. Both teams received televised entrances for this match as well. Bronson and Luther started the match. They traded forearms and then clotheslined each other with neither man budging. Luther kicked Bronson in the midsection then came off the ropes with another kick that Bronson ducked. Bronson then clotheslined Luther knocking him down. Luther tagged in Serpentico but Serpentico was immediately grabbed by Bronson and suplexed.
Bronson tagged in Boulder and then Bronson sent Boulder into Serpentico with an Irish whip. Boulder lifted up Serpentico to slam him but Serpentico slipped out and chopped Boulder. Boulder then lifted Serpentico up for a press slam but instead hit Serpentico with multiple back breakers. Boulder tagged in Bronson who threw Serpentico into the corner. Luther then tried to enter the ring which distracted Bronson. Bronson ran towards Serpentico but Serpentico slipped out of the ring and then grabbed Bronson in a stunner position and dropped which cause Bronson to hit the top rope throat first.
Luther clotheslined Bronson from outside the ring. Serpentico tagged in Luther who used Serpentico as a weapon being slammed onto Bronson. Serpentico went for a pinfall but Bronson kicked out at two. Serpentico then worked on Bronson’s arm and punched Bronson in the armpit. Bronson looked at Serpentico like he was crazy. Bronson then sent Serpentico into Boulder and Boulder punched Serpentico and tagged in. Boulder worked over both Luther and Serpentico and then lifted Serpentico up for a powerbomb. Luther came off the ropes with a cross body block, but he was also caught by Boulder, who then fell forward, dropping both Luther and Serpentico. Boulder put Bronson onto his shoulders and then dropped Bronson on top of Luther for the pinfall…
“Bear Country ” Bear Bronson and Bear Boulder defeated “Chaos Project” Luther and Serpentico by pinfall in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good competitive match even with the result not being in any real doubt. The crowd really started to get into Bear Country’s power moves.
4. Kaun vs Andrade El Idolo (w/Jose). Both men traded armbars before Andrade pulled Kaun’s hair and backed him up into the corner. Andrade went for the clean break but Kaun grabbed Andrade and pushed Andrade into the corner and slapped him. Andrade then grabbed Kaun and returned the favor. Andrade with an Irish whip but Kaun flipped Andrade over the top rope. Andrade held on and grabbed Kaun’s arm from the ring apron locked in a head and arm lock. Andrade followed up with a knee to Kaun’s midsection. Andrade continued working on Kaun’s arm until he sent Kaun into the opposite corner. As Andrade ran towards Kaun, Kaun hit Andrade with an elbow.
Kaun tried to lift Andrade onto his shoulders, but Andrade fought out of it and then came off the ropes, but Kaun got Andrade up on his shoulders again. Kaun dropped Andrade with a gut buster but was only able to get a 1 count. Kaun then attempted a senton but Andrade got his knees up. Andrade then grabbed Kaun’s arm and DDT’d. Andrade then locked up both of Kaun’s arms and then pulled back which caused Kaun to tap out and give Andrade the victory.
Andrade El Idolo defeated Kaun by submission in 3:30.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Kaun is a former ROH Six-Man Tag Team champion with Shane Taylor and Moses and this was his AEW debut. Kaun got to show some brief flashes, but this was a showcase for Andrade. It was the first time Andrade has been back since the match against Cody a couple of weeks ago.
5. Amber Rodriguez vs. Thunder Rosa. Rosa had the advantage early and often. Rodriguez’s offense was limited to an enzuigiri before Rosa took over again. The finish came when Rodriguez was in the ropes and Rosa dropkicked her. Rosa followed up with the Fire Thunder Driver for the pinfall.
Thunder Rosa defeated Amber Rodriguez by pinfall in 3:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: Another dominant showcase for Thunder Rosa heading into her semifinal match with Jade Cargill. As I have said in the past, I understand why Thunder Rosa is on Elevation pretty much weekly. She is one of the most popular superstars they have. The problem with these short showcases is it really does get harder and harder to say something different about the match before it looks like I am copying and pasting from another report.
6. Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy and The Blade vs. Evil Uno, Stu Grayson and 10. Blade and Evil Uno started the match. After some back-and-forth Blade briefly took advantage with a kick to Uno before he tagged in Kassidy. Kassidy went to kick Uno but Uno caught his leg and pulled Kassidy down. Uno then stomped on Kassidy’s fingers and then tagged in Grayson. Grayson and Uno sent Kassidy into the ropes with a double Irish whip but Kassidy held on. Grayson charged towards Kassidy but Kassidy backdropped Grayson over the top rope and onto the ring apron.
Uno and Grayson set up for a double team but Hardy grabbed Grayson and pulled him off the apron and to the floor. Hardy followed up with a Twist of Fate on Grayson on the floor. Uno and 10 went to check on Grayson while Hardy got back in the ring and got on his knees. Kassidy jumped off Hardy’s back and over the top rope onto the Dark Order members. The HFO tagged in and out, continuing to work over Grayson until Kassidy tried to splash Grayson in the corner. Grayson moved then knocked Hardy off the apron and caught The Blade with a German suplex. Kassidy sent Grayson back into the HFO’s corner and went for a clothesline but Grayson ducked and hit Kassidy with a German suplex as well.
Kassidy and The Blade tried to double clothesline Grayson but Grayson with a Matrix dodge and then hit The Blade and Kassidy with a double Pele kick before tagging in 10. 10 cleared the ring before tagging back in Uno who climbed the top rope and came off with a Swanton bomb for a 2 count before Kassidy broke it up. Uno wound up left in the ring alone with the HFO and was hit by a Side Effect by Hardy. Blade went for the cover but Uno kicked out a two. 10 pulled Hardy off the ring apron and sent him into the barricade before hitting Kassidy with a shoulder tackle also outside the ring. The Blade was left alone with the Dark Order. Uno and Grayson hit their fatality before 10 locked in the Full Nelson for the submission victory
Evil Uno, Stu Grayson and 10 defeated Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy and The Blade by submission in 5:00.
Bailin’s Breakdown: A good back and forth match that could have gone either way. I would have to put this as my match of the night followed by the Bear Country vs. Chaos Project match. Unfortunately, the rest of the show was kind of just there. Wrenkowski and Velvet could have doubled their match length and been just slightly more competitive and it would have bumped this episode up a notch. Also, I feel it is definitely time for Thunder Rosa to start working more with the contracted talent on AEW’s roster. These showcase matches for her are great for a pop but there is no reason we can’t see an upgrade in Rosa’s competition on Elevation every now and then. There are plenty that she can work with that she hasn’t yet.
All things considered though this wasn’t a bad episode of Elevation. It was one of the shorter episodes, clocking in at just 36 minutes and 32 seconds. As this is the final episode of Elevation before Christmas, I just wanted to end by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!